We were going to call this blog “people we meet in the shower” - but not everyone we work with is the result of a shower conversation - just most of them.
It was around the end of Summer 2019 that we bumped into Hannah in the shower. She liked the swimsuit I was wearing and when it’s a swimsuit you’ve made yourself there’s no nicer compliment.
In the interests of being environmentally friendly and not taking the longest shower ever we decided to catch up for a coffee at our place to chat about the Usual Objections journey and Hannah’s own journey with The Blobcast.
Hannah no doubt thought we were slightly crazy and the same was probably true for us of her, but isn’t that where all the fun stuff happens?
We explained the story of how we got started, our love for swimming, our love for making swimwear.
Hannah explained how she was trying to raise awareness of menstrual health including swimming and staying active while menstruating - which are still both social taboos to a lot of people. She also explained how she’d had this idea for a swimsuit for a long time but didn’t really know how to get started with it.
At that point the light bulb flickered and we said - of course we’d love to help!
Apart from a love of swimming and sewing, the main reason we wanted to start Usual Objections was to give back as much as we can. To help people start things and work on fun projects with nice people. So this was a perfect match.
It’s a shame for women in sport and that in general menstruation remains a stigmatised subject.
The Olympics of 2016 highlighted this issue when competitor Fu Yuanhui told reporters her period had started the previous day when asked about her team finishing fourth in the 4x100m medley relay. Yuanhui made headlines for breaking the silence, though there’s no doubt that it can affect all female athletes, from amateurs to endurance racers. Their menstruation can impact their athletic performance to them avoiding the pool entirely.
Together with The Blobcast we hope this suit will play a small part in starting more conversations around menstruation, swimming and women in sport.
How do you go about making a Blob swimsuit? Well, first there is the coffee of course. Then Hannah made a few beautiful sketches that we looked over.
We then get busy in Illustrator coming up with our interpretation of this. We wanted to make sure that red blobs would represent menstrual bleeding but not necessarily be shocking, instead we created a more playful design. Hannah & I loved it!
We also decided to use our standard block so that we could quickly get the project off the ground.
Rich then got making. First we relax the fabric, leaving it overnight to remove any creases from the roll. Next we printed the blobs and cut the pattern out ready to start sewing - Rich’s favourite part of the operation!
A few days later, Hannah popped around and saw the suit. I still remember the look of joy on her face. To see something that had been in her head for so long actually in 3D right in front of her was obviously a great experience.
We’re so excited to see where the Blobsuit will go. Let’s hope it will lead to lots of open discussions around menstrual health and staying active even on your period. It’s such a great project to be involved in and we’re so happy Hannah chose the Usual Objections to help bring this to life.
Here’s a bit on what Hannah and Soph are up to:
WHAT IS THE BLOBCAST?
The Blobcast is a creative project that gets people to experience periods differently.
Founders Hannah and Soph realised their shared interest in periods at a gingerbread house-making competition in 2018. With the intention of opening up conversations around the subject, the duo created The Blobcast by producing recorded events that showcase different experiences of menstruation from across society and culture.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The Blobcast events take place at a variety of London venues and have speakers discuss periods through perspectives including advertising, academic research, comedy, education, and more. The events turn into podcasts available on Spotify, iTunes, and Acast for wider audiences to enjoy.
WHAT IS THE BLOB SWIMSUIT?
Periods are gaining increased attention in the UK, however menstruation and swimming remain a neglected part of social narratives. To get people talking about periods and swimming, The Blobcast designed 'The Blob Swimsuit' in collaboration with Usual Objections. The tongue-in-cheek suit appears as though the wearer has menstrual blood around the crotch, and was launched by former pro-surfer Sophie Hellyer to make a splash for International Women's Month 2020.